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Frequently Asked Questions – Microsoft PML

What is included in the M365 A3 package? Is it the same as E Desktop?

For a full list of what is included in M365, click here. M365 A3 essentially contains all of the solutions/functionality included in the E Desktop suite, including access to the latest versions of Office, Windows (including Win 10) and the Client Access Licenses (CALs) for most Microsoft servers, and also includes additional products like AADP, Intune and Minecraft Education.

Although this is a cloud-first package, subscribers can still use the solutions on-premise where applicable, keeping in mind that some components of the package are cloud-only solutions so obviously can’t be run on-premise.

Do we just get licenses for the number of users negotiated by Focused Education or can we use the M365 solution for all staff and students as in other years?

Districts/schools will pay for the number of licenses listed on their Commitment to Participate Form. Microsoft will provide transitional licenses for all other staff at no charge. All students remain covered at no additional charge.

We expect at the end of this 3-year term that Microsoft will be looking to convert all of those free M365 licenses to paid ones (except for students; they will remain free). Focused Education would, as always, negotiate strongly for that not to happen but, out of an abundance of caution, we do want to make you aware of the possibility.

If there are groups of users you can keep on the O365 A1 $0 license, you might want to consider doing that. Microsoft has been clear that the $0 M365 A3 licenses are transitional licenses and there is little doubt they’ll expect us to pay for all of them next time around.

If we do not join M365 A3 at the beginning of Year 1, could we still upgrade to it later or do we have to wait the full three years?

It is possible to join M365 A3 at annual anniversary dates (April 1st) and, in some cases, at other times in the year, with Microsoft approval. Please let us know when you want to join the M365 A3 agreement at and we will do our best to add you as soon as possible.

How did Focused Education derive the user counts for this agreement? Are these FTE counts or headcounts?

Focused Education negotiated a small (less than 3%) cost increase for Year 1 of the agreement. For years 2 and 3, there will be additional 3% increases to counts annually. The Year 1 counts were derived by dividing the negotiated Year 1 cost by the price obtained through a competitive RFP process. At this time, Focused Education and Microsoft have not agreed on a definition of a Knowledge Worker. These are neither FTEs nor headcounts; they are agreed-upon counts for the purposes of the current agreement.

Do I have to give Softchoice my counts for this license?

No. We have provided Softchoice with all counts for the full 3-year contract. Any changes to those counts must come from Focused Education. Members have already been provided with their counts for all three years of this agreement.

How quickly can I get the M365 A3 licenses in place?

That depends, in part, on how quickly you return your Form A: Commitment to Participate and Form B: Designated Contract/Portal Administrator. Once we have those, Microsoft will send an eAgreement directly to the designated contract/portal administrator. Until that eAgreement is executed, nothing else happens.

We expect the transition period to take 3 – 4 weeks, with most organizations in place by May 15th, 2018.

My staff have been having trouble accessing the Microsoft Home Use Program (HUP) since March 31. Is that because of the license change?

Yes. HUP expires with the master license and, this year, will only be reactivated when your organization has executed its unique license (the eAgreement) sent to you by Microsoft. Once you have done that, Softchoice will submit your order to Microsoft. It will take a few days for Microsoft to activate your license and process your Software Assurance Benefits, including HUP.

Realistically, HUP is likely to be unavailable to most Districts until April 30, 2018. If there are delays in submitting paperwork or elsewhere in the renewal process, it may take longer.